Garanti BBVA, Ekonomist magazine and the Turkish Association of WomenEntrepreneurs (KAGIDER) completed the 14th edition of their Women Entrepreneurs of Turkey Contest. The winners in the four categories were announced during the awards ceremony, which took place online on March 5th.
Filiz Akkaş and Pelin Özkal, founding partners of Mapsis Metal, were presented the award for the ‘Female entrepreneur of Turkey’. Thanks to her Defne Pelet initiative, Ayşegül Abacı was also recognized as the ‘Female entrepreneur with the greatest impact on the region’ and Begüm Esra Aytan, the founder of Geneon, as ‘Turkey’s most promising female entrepreneur’. Finally, Sadriye Görece, the creator of the Blind look app, won the award for ‘Social entrepreneur of Turkey’.
In her presentation, Garanti BBVA Director General Recep Baştuğ indicated that the percentage of female entrepreneurs around the world stands at 34 percent, while in Turkey, it is just 13 percent. “Although the percentage has doubled since the early 2000s, we are still far from reaching the global average,” the director said.
Furthermore, he noted that female entrepreneurship and the presence of women in the corporate world represent a starting point for Garanti BBVA. The director reported that financing is one of the basic requirements when it comes to promoting and consolidating the presence of women in corporate life.
In addition, he explained that the bank has allocated over nine billion Turkish funds to this purpose and it will continue to increase this amount.“We have held the Women Entrepreneurs of Turkey Contest since 2007 with the goal of incentivizing women, sharing their success stories and holding them up as role models of entrepreneurship,” said Recep Baştuğ. He also recalled that this initiative was born out of tremendous hard work and dedication, and it is possible today thanks to the enormous contributions that all shareholders have been making for the past 14 years.
“The first year 103 candidates applied, and after 14 years of this contest, the figure now reaches 40,000 women. This increase is very encouraging,” the director continued. Regarding the latest edition of the program, he underscored that this year, the women entrepreneurs focused on the environment, equal opportunities and inclusion, with numerous successful projects behind them.
After congratulating all the winning women entrepreneurs, finalists and participants for their courage, the director explained that they would tell the stories of the winners on the screens of their branches and on their social networks.
Get to know the winners
Filiz Akkaş and Pelin Özkal -“Female entrepreneur of Turkey”
Filiz Akkaş decided to create her own company to meet the demand for aluminum profiles and parts due to the lack of manufacturers in the sector. In 2011, she founded Mapsis Metalwith three employees and started production with vertical and horizontal mechanical tools.That same year, Filiz Akkaş and Pelin Özkal became partners. In addition to manufacturing parts on a national and local level, they also produce lining and air filtering systems in smart buildings. They currently have 35 employees and intend to expand their business by exporting to different countries.
Begüm Esra Aytan - “Turkey’s most promising female entrepreneur”
The company, which focuses on sustainability, aims to promote organic recycling by manufacturing healthier and more profitable products.
Ayşegül Abacı - “Female entrepreneur with the greatest impact on the region”
She founded the first company to produce biomass from the waste from Turkey’s bay leaf branches. She is the only female entrepreneur in Turkey in the pellet fuel industry. After increasing production to 20 tons per day, she exported for the first time to Finland. Her goal is to continue increasing production and be the top brand for pellet fuel in Turkey and the world.
Sadriye Görece - “Social entrepreneur of Turkey”
In order to enable the inclusion of the visually impaired in social life and the digital world, she created the mobile app Blindlook. In just one year, over 1,000 restaurants have joined the Blindlook network and the company has collaborated with 20 other businesses. The platform aims to become the largest platform in the world in the field of accessibility technology within five years.